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Thread: Im going with Landscape Architecture, is this the right choice?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Im going with Landscape Architecture, is this the right choice?

    Hey guys for a long time I have had a huge debate of whether to go to grad school for Urban Planning or Landscape Architecture. I am more interested in the design aspects. For example I love to draw college campuses. I just love to layout everything. I would much rather be drawing a map, designing a campus, or something in that aspect than rather reading about cities (I mean I love that too, but I rather draw). So I realized that maybe urban planning isn't the right track for me. I'm not the biggest fan of politics, and I need a job that feeds my creativity. I am very creative and have a huge imgination. If I get accepted the University of Illinois, I think I would go for a dual degree. If I have to go to another school I think that I will definately just go for Landscape Arch. So let me sum it up:

    What I love (pertaining to the whole, Arch, UP, and LA field)
    - Learning how cities form
    - Designing cities for their benefit
    - Desgining cities to be beautiful
    - I love doing more hands on type of stuff
    - I love that there is always something new going on (in terms of different projects)
    - I am just an Architecture geek

    Things I hate in general
    - Politics
    - Not being able to be creative
    - Everyday being the same

    So from what I have told you what do you think would fit me best, L.A., or U.P?
    -

  2. #2
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Landscape Architechture all the way.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I would recommend going to get both degrees. Do NOT go to the University of Illinois for either degree if you want to go into a more design-heavy career (UIUC is good for international planning and economic development). In my opinon, and in the opinon of some of my friends who are practicing landscape architects, UIUC does not really prepare you to excel in LA (for example, UIUC's program does not stress AutoCAD as rigorously as other schools).

    I would recommend Ball State, Iowa State if you want to pursue both disciplines. Try to look for a special program that would offer a dual degree in both fields (I am not sure if this is as common for colleges as it is for graduate programs). I personally am considering going back in a few years to pursue a double-masters in urban planning and landscape architecture. If you consider majoring in both planning and landscape architecture degrees at UIUC, you will have a completely different courseload to juggle with very little overlap, albeit a few electives.

    Finally, before you do anything (and I wish I would have done this when i was applying to college), find people in your profession that are doing what you want to do when you graduate (with soooo many public and private sector planning info on the internet, it might take some digging). You might even want to narrow that list down to only those people who graduated from UIUC. Meet in person with the department head from both disciplines. Ask for an informational interview (this is not to land a job). People love to talk about themselves, you will find out if UIUC is a good fit, and it will improve your networking skills.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Yes, I think you are making the right choice, for the simple fact that you can get licensed as an LA.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Does the University of Washington have a good program in the design aspect? That is actually my #2 school, but UIUC is my #1 because it would be financially smarter. If I won the lottery today UWash Seattle would be my #1. I talked to my sister's best friend's father (who owns his own Arch. firm), and he said L.A. is a good career put the pay is sh***. I mean money is not that important, but I mean I don't want to be living on scraps. I might still go with a dual, but not sure.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    It seems like you have thought everything through very carefully If UWash-Seattle is your first choice, I would recommend a few things...

    1) Find out residency requirements for that school, and how long you would have to live in that state to become a resident. Be careful though, these established policies may change over time without notice, so be sure to have any residency policies (or in fact, ANY policies whether it be housing, financial aid, electives, etc.) in writing.

    2) Given your special situation, UIUC might offer the most affordable degree, but that might not always equal the most bang for your buck (in other words, don't be penny wise and pound foolish). Money is always an important factor, whether it be in planning or LA, because it might take a much longer time to pay off student debt, than choosing a more lucrative field).

    Look for money and quality of education in a degree. When I say quality, pay close attention to the people who have graduated from the program. Scout out graduates from the U-Wash program and ask them if they needed a lot or a little on-the-job training for their first job out of school.

    3) I am sure no matter what school you go to, you should do fine. However, some firms (and I stress some) prefer graduates from one school over another, regardless of your academic achievements. These pre-conceived notions, based on past experiences with former employees or bad interviews, may lead some potential employers to be biased (i.e. "we dont want to hire students from "x" college because the last guy we had in here from that school was a drain on our budget" or "we always accept graduates from "y" university because it is a challenging program". If you can find out this insider information, it may help you out in the long run. I got my first job in planning and design based on who I knew.

    These are just some ideas. I am not the definitive answer. Picking a good college, or a job is like conducting a survey: there is no right/wrong answer, but the larger your sample you will exponentially get an accurate answer

  7. #7
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    I am a licnesed landscape architect with the state of califronia and would have to say that based on what you have presented as your intrest it would be a great avenue for you. If you are into regional planning though I would stay out of california. Also the profession is very subserviant to the developers hand and carry little weight with a lot of design/industry proffessionals for no other reason than everyone can grow a plant or mow a lawn or play.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    This is my thing. I would love to go for a Dual Master's, but the prob is that I do not have a design degree. So more than likely, it will take me more like four years, than actually three (like most schools say). I am not crazy about going to school for another four years, but I can't say it will really bother me all that much. The big problem is the financial side. It's different when you pay out of state tuition, as compared to in state tution when seeing how many years it will take to complete. I would go in a heartbeat to UWash, if I was planning to just get a U.P. degree which would only be two years.

    So a couple more questions:

    1) How will having the dual degree help me? Is it worth it?

    2) Will my salary after attaining a Dual degree let me live a comfortable life while paying the off the loans of a out of state tution, dual degree ( I know this is more dependent and no one can really give a straight answer, but just in general)?

    Pretty much these are the schools that I am looking at:

    1) Illinois
    2) Washington
    3) California
    4) Ohio State
    5) Virginia
    6) Minnesota


    I wouldn't mind pursing just a L.A. degree, but I feel i might get stuck if I don't like it, and also they are VASTLY underpaid. I have seen Urban Planners make more money, and L.A. does not pay all that well. I'm not in it for the money, but if U.P, pays more than L.A., then U.P. certainly does have an upper hand in that area.

    ^^^^Correct me if I am wrong though on Urban Planners making more money than Landscape Architects. Either way I know that both careers are on the rise, and even CNN Money ranked both careers as the Best 50 careers to have, Landscape Architecture ranked slightly better than U.P.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 28 Dec 2006 at 10:11 AM. Reason: double reply

  9. #9
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    I only know that salary wise planners and landscape architects in the LA region are paid about the same. It is enough to get by on and if you choose a the public sector it is stable. If you are planning on getting settled and starting a family right away go the public route.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    After reading your post I wish I went into L.Arch!

    Sounds like you made a good choice - good luck with it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    One thing to note is that ASLA did a salary study and what they found show that LA's Made more than Architects.

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